Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rabbits and ducks and braces, oh my!

Yesterday afternoon I had three small, innocuous rubber bands jammed between my back lower molars and on upper left side of my mouth....and felt as if I'd been punched. I gummed polenta while Hockeyman happily ate his steak. Next week I am getting "resets", doubtless some insidious form of orthodontic agony. Burkhard Bilger wrote in the New Yorker that orthodonture is still barbaric. No shit.

Today I am nearly back to solid foods, having eaten a turkey sandwhich by disassembling it into component parts: meat, shallot (it was a catered luncheon), pickle, tomato, lettuce. Each went into my mouth individually. Fortunately, most of the guests were colleagues accustomed to my atrocious table manners.

I did buy a rabbit. Twenty-four bucks! Why? I mean, it's not organic, artisanal, or free range. I'm sure it's from very far away, violating the Bay Area imperative to eat locally.

After consulting the Zuni Cafe cookbook, I plan brine the bunny in milk and salt. Hopefully this will leave it tender as filet mignon when I braise it Sunday.

My other weekend cooking project is to prepare duck confit. The thing is, I have to score enough duck fat to do so, and I really don't want to haul into San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market for a zillion-dollar jar of fat from Boulette's Larder. I am hoping to find some either at Berkeley Bowl (it's amazing what the butchers there can come up with from the back) or, if I have to, Oakland's Market Hall, that always-jammed, insanely upscale emporia of edible exotica.

So the confit, for the moment, is just a maybe.

Yesterday's other grand find was Jane Grigson's Food with the Famous. It's hardcover, the American first edition, but missing the dust jacket. The binding is a bit frail.

I've long been keeping an eye out for her books, but like Elizabeth David's, they almost never appear used. I tried to order Good Things and was informed it will be appear in an American edition in November, just in time for my birthday.

The book is a discussion of various famous folk and their food predilections, complete with recipes. I've never heard of Parson James Woodforde (1740-1803), but his diary details every morsel he put into his mouth, along with asides about the help:

"Betty, both the washerwomen as well as ourselves. say that our maid Molly is with child, but she persists in it that she is not." (50)

His description of the pigs becoming drunk after getting into the leftover beermakings had me lauging hysterically at my desk, which is never a good way to draw attention at work.


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